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Arizona football: Cal grad transfer Michael Barton to join Wildcats in 2016

A potentially huge piece to the linebacking puzzle next year

Harry How/Getty Images

In the pursuit of replacing Scooby Wright III, the Arizona Wildcats coaching staff has added a lot of Pac-12 experience in Cal graduate transfer Michael Barton on Sunday.

Barton played in 32 games over the past three seasons at Cal, totaling 169 tackles in that span. His best year was 2014, where he brought down 80 ball carriers, and also had a couple of pass deflections. His 80 tackles were the best on that Golden Bears team, and earned him an All-Pac-12 honorable mention.

Following that campaign, he was named a preseason second-team All-Pac-12 player by Phil Steele. It didn't pan out as expected, as he only played in nine games and compiled 25 tackles after he lost the starting job in training camp.

According to the SF Gate, Barton will graduate from Cal this spring before he will be able to join Arizona. While it seems bad that he lost his starting job this year, the Wildcats are in desperate need of high-level experience at linebacker in 2016 with the departure of Wright, and the possibility of Derrick Turituri missing the 2016 season lingering, as well as the uncertainty of Jake Matthews' recovery.

The Cal transfer will only play one year, so he won't face his former team unless Arizona and Cal meet in the Pac-12 Championship Game. But having him join the system only has upside.